I met up with Keith and Tom and a few locals in the Community Centre beforehand and went over our individual aspirations for the race, pacing and times etc. I (jokingly) said that my tactic was to "run like mad for the first 9k and then hang on until the end". I picked up my bib number, t-shirt etc. It was about 14 degrees but windy with light rain on and off.
I did some dynamic stretching and then with 15minutes to go we did a light run out to the start line and chatted to a few people until we were under way. I had decided to set the garmin virtual training partner up on my watch, so I knew how my overall pace was going. I've used it before successfully, but this time (for some reason) it messed up and told me I was about two minutes slower by the 5k mark, so I just stopped looking at it and ran by feel.
The course wound back to Ratoath up to just past the half way mark. A nice touch was having a race clock at the 5k point. I glanced at the clock and saw 22:xx on it, only slightly slower than my 5k PB. I told myself to "chill the **** out and slow down a bit". After that we turned right and right again to be met with a few small hills. I didn't know there would be hills, and they made me lose my focus a bit and dented the pace. There were water stations every 2k or so, which were great, but I can't drink and run, I just end up choking. I think one of the water stations was unofficial and just setup by a family outside their house!
There was lots of people out to cheer us on in the last kilometer. At this point, I caught up to a guy running whilst holding his left ribcage, I presumed he had a stitch. I ran alongside him and chatted. He did have a stitch and I said I'd stay with him. I was calling out the distance left, 800m...700m. With just 100m to go he took off again.
Photo credit - Rory MooneyThen I saw the finish line clock with 44:xx on it!!
Up to this my legs were feeling heavy, but somehow I decided to sprint. I overtook the guy I'd been running with and two other runners in the last 30m.
At the finish line we were offered water, bananas and even strawberries with cream! After a brief chat (it was raining again at this point) we jogged back to the Community Centre to cool down and got some tea/coffee, cakes, sandwiches, fruit etc.
Many thanks to the organizers, excellent job!